New England is recognized as one of the country’s best regions to experience fall. From breathtaking foliage to numerous festivals and fairs, peep our top 4 reasons to enjoy a wicked-good New England getaway.
1. Leaf Peeping
Start with a burst of yellow and orange hued colors, add a touch of crisp autumn air, and you've got the makings of a spectacular fall trip. The leaves normally start to change color around the middle of September with peak fall foliage in the first two weeks of October. How you accomplish seeing the foilage – by land or by sea – is what will make your New England experience special.
- Kancamagus Highway - The Kancamagus Highway is a 34.5-mile scenic drive along New Hampshire’s Route 112, well known as one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in the country. No gas stations, no restaurants – pure nature at its finest. Take in the astounding views of the White Mountains, the Swift River, and Rocky Gorge. You’ll be sitting at 3,000 feet - the highest point on the Kancamagus Pass near Lincoln, New Hampshire.
- The Minuteman Trail - In Massachusetts, several popular fall foliage paths go from the coast to the higher elevations of the state. The 36-mile Cape Codder path goes along the famed coastline along Route 6a, from Brewster, through Yarmouth and finishing just past Cedarville. The Cranberry Course, with colorful leaves, views of cranberry bogs, travels 75 miles along five routes and highways. Another option is to take The Minuteman Trail, following Paul Revere’s famous ride but with fall colors, starting in Boston and traveling 42 miles through Concord and into Waltham. For more details on these routes and more, visit http://www.massvacation.com/fall/
- Historic Boston Spots - Whether you’re bicycling or strolling along Boston’s historic areas, you’ll be enthralled by the incredible colors while you explore this seaside city. Head to Beacon Hill for a burst of fall colors or walk through Boston Common & the Public Garden. Another great spot to catch fall colors is in Boston’s Back Bay area, close to The Westin Copley Place, Boston. The city’s Arboretum is also an excellent location to view their vast collection which are displaying their peak fall colors most of October. Make it a long weekend in Boston and stay at The Liberty Hotel Boston just one block from the Charles River.
- Fall Foliage by Boat - Enjoy a view of the fall foliage and gain a wonderful perspective on the area landscape on Newfound Lake’s Fall Foliage Boat Tour. Newfound Lake is one of New Hampshire’s cleanest and deepest bodies of water and is home to loons, eagles, salmon and lake trout.
- Foliage Train Tour - If a New England fall experience for the family is what you’re looking for, then it’s “All Aboard!” the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad in Laconia, New Hampshire. The historic trains, dating back to the mid-1800s - travel along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Riders can add a picnic to their experience, and disembark in picturesque spots to enjoy their lakeside lunch.
2. Fairs, Events, and Parades
Whether you're doing a day trip or making a weekend out of it, it's obvious, New England is all in for Fall. You'll have your pick when it comes to celebrating the best the region has to offer.
- Oktoberfest - In September, Bavaria comes to Burlington at Vermont’s authentic Oktoberfest event, just a 10 minute drive from the Sheraton Burlington Hotel. The annual beer bacchanalia features over 40 breweries including local and regional beers and plenty of traditional German ales.
- The Big E - Also in September is The Big E, New England’s Great State fair which is the largest agricultural event on the east coast and the country’s 7th largest fair. Showcasing the best agricultural products from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, The Big E takes place at the Eastern States Exposition, just a 5-minute drive from the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. This epic fair kicks off September 15 and ends October 1.
- Harvest on the Harbor - October opens with Portland, Maine’s Harvest on the Harbor, providing a feel for what makes New England a standout destination for food, wine and scenery. The week-long celebration, with plenty of lobster and wine for all, makes it an ideal reason to stay at The Westin Portland Harborview situated a few miles from all the action.
- Boston's Columbus Day Parade - If you’re heading to Boston, you will want to experience the city’s Columbus Day Parade. The parade dates back to 1937 and features marching bands, performances, and floats celebrating the city’s Italian heritage. Looking to make it an extended weekend? Consider staying near the iconic Boston Seaport at The Westin Boston Waterfront, which offers convenient access to all of Boston’s must see areas.
3. Wine and Beer
Sip your way around New England and enjoy its wonderful coastal wine trails and beer stops. The region's northernly location serves up an impressive assortment of breweries and vineyards for travelers to choose from.
- Coastal Wine Trail - If tastings of the wine and beer variety are your way to celebrate New England, look no further than the Coastal Wine Trail, which stretches, from Cape Cod and islands through the Southern coast of Massachusetts including the coastlines of Rhode Island and Connecticut. You can easily spend two days winding through historic areas and villages while visiting 9 locally owned wineries along the trail. Pro tip: Pick up the Coastal Wine Trail Passport at any of the wineries on the trail to be eligible to win travel prizes.
- Red Hook Brewery Tour - If beer is more your style, then a brewery tour at Red Hook awaits you in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel is nearby. Take a guided walk through the brewery, check out how they make beer and enjoy plenty of samples.
4. Regional Food
A perfect pairing for a Fall getaway involves treating your palette to authentic New England fare. From roadside apple stands, maple syrup sugar houses, and restaurants serving up savory clam chowder, your fall escape wouldn't be complete without some tempting bites along the way.
- Parker's Maple Barn - A visit to the northeast isn’t complete without tasting some maple syrup and Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason, New Hampshire, the boyhood home of “Uncle Sam.” A family establishment since the late 1960’s, Parker’s began with nothing more than a small Sugar House and has grown to become a very popular country restaurant.
- Chowda Fest - For an authentic New England experience you’ll want to taste the area’s best chowder. A stop at this Westport, Connecticut’s annual event will allow you enjoy unlimited chowder samplings from 40 award winning chefs from New England, all vying to compete for the title of best chowder at Chowda Fest.